Jim Bouton dead at 80


Jul 15, 2005
After all these posts I’m going to have to reread Ball Four, as I remember being a bit too young in the mid-70s to appreciate the “cultural insights” and being disappointed there wasn’t much technical behind the scenes as I enjoyed in Instant Replay, which I had practically memorized.

Not to derail, but here’s why I enjoy SoSH. Friday night I first learned the term Mental Health First Aid in the thread about the Celtics kid’s dad - and an hour later I met one of the leading trainers in topic, a new friend of my wife’s.

Then here today I read stories by a fellow lurker (I’m about 16 years) who I am 100% certain I envied from the other side of the backstop at Eldridge Park.

Its the first place i go to confirm any sports news but I stay for all the stories and other info from the community that come along with it.

jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
Jon Abbey mailed me a modern baseball book this week called “The MVP Machine,” some of which focuses on Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer, another non-conformist who reminds me of Bouton.
I have talked about it elsewhere but this book is very recommended for anyone really into the cutting edge development techniques that teams are using to try to keep getting ahead, Astros and Dodgers and Driveline and Trevor Bauer and Adam Ottavino etc. It jumps all over the place but one part that Sox fans will find especially relevant/interesting if they don't know is about Brian Bannister and his advice to Joe Kelly and Heath Hembree down the stretch last year that turned their season around.


Spacemans Bong

chapeau rose
SoSH Member
I loved Ball Four when I read it in college, and I believe I had the version with his 20th anniversary update. It was remarkably funny and human. One of my favorite stories was the one about playing in the minors for a stretch with (I think) the Vancouver minor league team of the Pilots. They had a road game in Hawaii, and he described the amazing weather, the view from the ball park of the ocean, and eating teriyaki (or sushi maybe?) in the bullpen, and thought to himself "If I played here and got called up, I don't think I'd go."
The Islanders were one of the highlights of the PCL season back then. To cut down on travel costs, they played eight-game series versus other teams, and the visiting teams would absolutely treat it like a Hawaiian vacation. I imagine the Islanders had a killer home record, as teams would spend all day on the beach before going to the ballpark.
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Average Reds

Staff member
V&N Mod
SoSH Member
Sep 24, 2007
Southwestern CT
Jim's line in Ball Four - "She looked like Joe Torre with tits," still gets me every time.
IIRC, that quote is from another player describing a woman who had been picked up by another teammate.

Bouton then explains that the joke can only be understood with a picture of Torre, but none is known to exist because “he melts camera lenses.”

God, I love that book.

bob burda

SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
I was 11/12 yrs old just having completed 6th grade and about to finish my last Little League season when I took Ball Four off the shelf, and it was a key part of my education. I shared that copy with two good friends of similar age. We all loved it, though perhaps some of potty/juvenile humor were the best parts to us back then, and of course we learned all sorts of entertaining cursing from it, too.

When I reread it in my 30s I was able to pick up on a bunch of other stuff I'd missed as a kid, but some of the puerile stuff was still funny. I always figured there were more of these, and he only put the best ones in the book:

- the Joe Schultz victory rants - "Stomp 'em! Stomp the piss out of 'em! - and go pound some Budweiser!"
- the episode with the roomate hiding in the closet while his buddy is making it with an "annie", and after hearing her enthusiastic encouragement/praise of her sex partner, leans out of the closet to say "yeah, shurrrre" (a phrase which is a meme in the book)
- a response to repeated farts that went, "better answer the telephone, somebody's ass keeps calling."